- 07 Apr 21
The Limerick native, who is also a meditation teacher, finds her voice as a musician while searching for a way to heal from the past.
Susan Quirke has released a new track from her highly-anticipated debut album, coming April 23. Written in Northern California, where the musician spent several months, it documents her transformative and healing journey.
She is joined by musical pioneer Colm Quearney on guitar, accompanying her delicate vocals. ‘Follow Rivers Way' is a bright, dreamy tune that may very well be the most vulnerable piece Quirke has composed so far, and could even go down in history with the likes of Vashti Bunyan and Weyes Blood.
‘Follow Rivers Way’ talks about the trauma of the past and, adhering to Susan’s own philosophy, it suggests that working through the pain is the only way to move forward. The songwriter believes that a culture where people are taught to hide and numb their feelings is rather harmful. "I've learned throughout the years that it takes far more energy to dodge our pain than to actually sit in it, feel it, grieve, and let it move through us," she says.
At the moment, many people are struggling even more than ever before due to the altered circumstances of the pandemic. Despite having years of experience in meditation practice, Susan also felt its effects, and it took some time for her to find a new balance.
Many artists are currently in a position where they don't see the point of creating music anymore. In contrast, others take strength in the situation and utilise the pain to lay a foundation for new songs. It is not the ultimate cure, but for Susan, music is one of the best mediums of dealing with the mental distress.
‘Follow Rivers Way’ is not your typical upbeat, radio-friendly song, but Susan thinks that right now, people do need something more soothing. "Too often we numb [the pain], distract ourselves from it or entertain ourselves so we don't have to feel… But if the past is not dealt with, it can fester and cause pain in so many other ways," she explained in a statement.
Susan hopes that as much as working on the album helped her, this song will help the listeners to connect and to catch a sight of a silver lining in any situation. But this could only happen if we actually look at something we always tend to turn away from.
With her music, Susan wants to spread the message that people should break that cycle of ignoring the pain: "[It would be] a gift to the collective. This is what ‘Follow Rivers Way’ sings to. My experience is that following this river of healing can help us to realise that we’re far more powerful than we realise."
Listen to the song below, and pre-order Susan's album on Bandcamp.